Once-homeless student named valedictorian, receives scholarship

ATLANTA — An Atlanta Public Schools student has received a big surprise.

Rebecca Schmitt was honored with a scholarship after beating the odds to become valedictorian at Maynard Jackson High School.

Schmitt was once homeless with a struggling mother who has multiple myeloma.

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Schmitt's journey was highlighted in a story about an app designed for anyone to help provide local students in need, with items such as clothes, blankets, hair dryers or other items from wish lists created by students.

Robin Latimore saw the story and decided to help.

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"You are doing it, sister, and we are absolutely proud of you," Latimore, whose foundation donated luggage to Schmitt, said.

"It's a blessing, to be honest," Schmitt said. "I really wasn't expecting anything like this."

Schmitt also got two checks: One from the Dukes Foundation for $250 and an even bigger one from the Robin Latimore Foundation.

"We want to reward you with a $1,500 scholarship," Latimore said. "A scholarship that's out of this world. It's amazing."

The foundation is giving her a free makeup artist and a hair stylist to help her get all dolled up for prom, but it's her inner beauty that’s really captured so many at this school.

Her willingness to inspire others through action won't stop when she graduates.

"I'd like to continue that by becoming a teacher for the next generation," Schmitt said.